Mints and gum continue to be strong performers for convenience. SLR rounds up the latest category trends and insights.
by Iain Hoey
It is a small category, but mints and gum are among the most impulsively purchased products in convenience, and they are a consistent sales driver in c-stores if organised well. Retailers should stock market leaders alongside new flavours and innovations to drive repeat purchases and keep the category fresh. Effective merchandising, offering a substantial and varied appeal and keeping on top of the market can help drive category sales among all demographics.
The total gum category is currently worth over £263m, with growth predominantly driven by sugar free gum, a trend which Julio Guijarro, Marketing Director at Wrigley UK, says is likely to continue. “Chewers seek out a healthy addition to their day-to-day oral care routine,” he explains.
The day-to-day oral care routine and the trend towards sugar free gum continues, with 80% of women claiming to be more concerned about tooth loss and oral health than weight gain (mintel report), while 16-34-year-olds are more likely to be concerned with oral health in comparison to other age groups.
“As chewers increasingly look for a convenient addition to their oral care routine, it’s important for retailers to understand that gum is a healthy option to stock at the till point,” Guijarro says.
Research published in the British Dental Journal in February 2016 revealed significant potential cost savings on dental treatments if people chewed sugarfree gum after eating and drinking.
“If all 12-year-olds across the UK chewed sugarfree gum three times a day the NHS could save up to £8.2 million every year – the equivalent to 364,000 dental check-ups,” Guijarro tells. “With this expert advice in mind, it is important that retailers take note and understand that gum is a must-stock at the till point.”
The current leaders in the category are the Peppermint and Spearmint variants, according to Nielsen Data, making up nearly half of chewing gum sales. Guijarro says that in order to grow profits, you must merchandise your store effectively, with multi-siting and a wide variety of products on offer. “Gum is a significant front of store margin provider,” he says. “At recommended retail price, Wrigley’s gum typically delivers over 30% profit – significantly higher than other products.”
“Gum displays are highly space efficient and are easily merchandised,” he continues. “At a typical counter, a standard impulse gum display holds 608 individual packs.”
Recent NPDs in the gum category from Wrigley are the 60 pellet Cool Breeze Bottle, a pack refresh for Extra White, a new in-car gum holder, and the introduction of £2 PMP 46-pellet bottles and £1 PMP 21-pellet hanging bags. The brand has also seen a flurry of media campaigns, including its Time to Shine, Smile Back and National Smile Month promotions in the past 12 months.
The mint segment, which is worth over £147m, has also seen a steady stream of marketing activity. In August 2016, Mondelez International brought a brand new, sugar-free mint to the market – Trebor Mighties. The product has been supported since January, as part of a £3.4m national TV campaign which highlights people’s appreciation of the brand’s ‘unapologetically minty mints’. Trebor also recently launched an in-store competition, ‘Get Minted’, which offers customers a chance to win over 100 prizes ranging from £50 to £5,000.
Also seeing a media campaign is Smint, which has developed a unique three-layered mint that it alleges can guarantee clean breath for up to two hours. “Over half of all mint purchases (51%) are for mouth refreshment when on the go,” says Ambrogio Perfetti, Smint Brand Manager, “so the outdoor and digital campaign that supports this launch will shout about its unique two-hour fresh breath credentials. Stock up now to ensure your shoppers are ‘Fresh to Impress’.”
Mints and gum have a vital role to play in the confectionery aisle as insights from Kantar show that 45% of consumers buy into the category. Ferrero’s Customer Development Director, Levi Boorer, says mints and gums most commonly occur as impulse purchases in convenience stores, which he says can be maximised by siting in disruptive locations such as at the counter or beside the newsstand. He also notes that there has been a trend moving towards different flavours. “The mints and gums category has seen an increased consumer demand for a range of fruit flavours over the past few years.”